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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Each year, approximately 60 new patents are issued by the U.S. Patent Office for USDA inventions. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) transfers these inventions through licenses to the private sector for commercialization. Below are links to the new technologies that are available for licensing.

Docket

Title

Description

Contact

42.13   NEW

NOVEL METHODS AND COMPOSITIONS TO EVALUATE AND DETERMINE INACTIVATION OF HAZARDOUS BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS

 

A time and temperature integrator assay is developed to evaluate the inactivation processes of hazardous biological material in a sample by quantifying the degradation of DNA using qPCR.  Food contains abundant copies of conserved mitochondrial DNA that degrades gradually during microwave or thermal treatment. The amount of intact mitochondrial DNA after processing is correlated with the viability of bacterial pathogens in the processed foods. PCT Application No.: PCT/US14/54749

Potential Commercial Applications

- A test for bacterial contamination after thermal food processing  by pasteurization, conventional heating, retorting, industrial microwaving, and roasting for human consumption and/or animal feed
- The sample can be a food product (e.g., fruits, vegetables, meat from animals, or eggs) while the item can be any object (e.g., medical equipment, especially reusable medical equipment)

Competitive Advantages
- Quantitative and sensitive test
-Results obtained in 3 - 6 hours instead of days or weeks

thomas.valco@ars.usda.gov

joseph.lipovsky@ars.usda.gov

 

47.15    NEW

METHODS FOR PREPARING PHENOLIC BRANCHED CHAIN ALKYL FATTY ACIDS OR ESTERS THEREOF AND METHODS FOR KILLING MICROORGANISMS

 

Methods for preparing plant derived phenolic branched chain fatty acids and methods for using them to kill microorganisms.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Antimicrobials to improve microbial food safety
- Alternative to bleach

Competitive Advantages
- Sustainable since phenolic and fatty acids are natural compounds
- Value added by-products of agricultural processing
-The crude phenolic branched-chain fatty acid mixtures do not have unpleasant odor

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

86.14  

VARIABLE THERMODYNAMIC RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY SYSTEM AND METHOD

 

A system and method for evaluating materials at multiple temperatures using Raman spectroscopy. A material is subjected to a variable thermodynamic protocol and analyzed using a differential scanning calorimeter.

Potential Commercial Applications:
- To enhance the ability to identify substances through Raman spectroscopy
- Biomedical, biochemistry, material science and more
- Non-destructive monitoring for manufacturing materials to ensure intended molecular and structural integrity of material

Competitive Advantages:
- Reliably measures and analyzes molecular level changes of compounds as they begin to melt
- Provides molecular structural information regarding a target substance

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

 

37.15

METHODS FOR TREATING PLANTS OR FRUITS

Methods for treating plants or fruits that involves a solid material that stores natural gaseous plant hormones and then releases them at levels between a required ripening concentration and safety allowance.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Could be used by supermarkets and consumers to ripen fruits when desired
- Ripening fruits at distribution facilities immediately prior to shipping to local grocery stores.

Competitive Advantages
- Could potentially reduce post-harvest losses of fruits in supply chain
- Accelerates the ripening of climacteric fruits
- Solid material is easy to transport and can be applied to individual packages and produce containers such as shipping boxes, paper bags and plastic bags

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

 

112.14

MICRO-FLUIDIC MIXER AND METHOD OF DETERMINING PATHOGEN INACTIVATION VIA ANTIMICROBIAL SOLUTIONS

An automated micro-fluidic device and method to determine whether sufficient free chlorine is present in a wash solution to inactivate a target pathogen.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Use in the produce washing industry to determine the minimum free chlorine concentration needed to prevent pathogen survival/cross-contamination when washing fruits and vegetables
- Applications in food, agriculture, pharmaceutics, and other biological fields. Examples: chemical reaction kinetics study during drug development and microbial challenge studies during the development of new sanitizers and anti-microbial agents for food and human usages

Competitive Advantages
 - The device can determine whether sufficient free chlorine is present in wash solution to inactive a target pathogen
- It can determine the time and dose-dependent response of pathogen inactivation via free chlorine in times as short as a few seconds or less

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

22.15

 

METHODS OF PRODUCING AN ANTIMICROBIAL SOLUTION AND METHODS FOR REDUCING BACTERIA ON PRODUCE AND/OR MINIMIZING ENZYMATIC BROWNING OF PRODUCE

 

 

 

A method for producing an antimicrobial sanitizing solution containing acids generally regarded as safe (GRAS) in nisin and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). The sanitizer reduces populations of human bacterial pathogens on fruits and vegetables and/or minimizes enzymatic browning.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Non-thermal intervention treatment especially useful for heat sensitive fruits and vegetables
- Could benefit the produce industry, regulatory agency and consumers, by reducing  microbial populations, foodborne illness and costly recalls of produces

Competitive Advantages
- The composition can be used as a dipping, spraying, sprinkling, immersing, mixing and/or soaking solution
- Can keep food fresh or near fresh without altering the sensorial characteristic of the produce

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

86.15 + 45.13

 

UTILIZATION OF NON-NUTRITIVE ADSORBENTS TO SEQUESTER MYCOTOXINS DURING EXTRACTION OF PROTEIN OR OTHER VALUE ADDED COMPONENTS FROM MYCOTOXIN CONTAMINATED CEREAL OR SEED OIL MEAL

 

A method for removing mycotoxin from crops such as cereal and oil seed by treating the material with a mycotoxin sequestrant that binds aflatoxin and/or other mycotoxins. The result is a food grade composition for human consumption where the composition contains no more than an FDA approved level of mycotoxin for a human food product and animal feed that contains protein and sequestered mycotoxins. U.S. Patent no. for Docket 45.13: 9,060,532.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Value added processing of peanut meal contaminated with aflatoxin and/or other mycotoxins. After the peanut oil is extracted from aflatoxin and/or other mycotoxins contaminated peanuts, the aflatoxin and/or other mytotoxins is concentrated within the peanut meal. The method described results in a high protein peanut oil by-product
- Animal feed

Competitive Advantages
- Provides a use for aflatoxin and/or other mycotoxins contaminated peanut meal (a rich source of protein)

thomas.valco@ars.usda.gov

joseph.lipovsky@ars.usda.gov

 

47.14

 

BORON COMPLEXES WITH GRADUAL
1-METHYLCYCLOPROPENE RELEASING CAPABILITY

 

Boron derivatives that are stable at ambient conditions and capable of releasing 1-methyl cyclopropene (1-MCP) gradually when in contact with water.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Treatment of perishable agricultural commodities such as fruits, flowers and vegetables, to retard ripening and thus prolong shelf-life by blocking the activities of ethylene

Competitive Advantages
- Controlled delivery of 1-MCP, selective application, cost effective multi-batch treatment option
- Potential to be used in open fields to increase crop yields

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

102.14

 

BACTERIOCIN WITH NOVEL ACTIVITY

 

An isolated and purified bacteriocin, thermophilin 110, produced by Streptococcus thermophiles strain 110 that kills and/or inhibits the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus mutans, and/or Propionibacterium acnes. Thermophilin 110 is the first bacteriocin identified with this activity.  

Potential Commercial Applications
- Applied topically, orally, or parenterally to an animal to prevent the growth of or kill S. pyogenes, S. mutans, and/or P. acnes and thus prevent or treat diseases caused by the bacteria
- Potential for food and non-food applications
- Biopreservative

Competitive Advantages

- Natural, antimicrobial peptides

jim.poulous@ars.usda.gov

 

47.14   

 

PLANAR TRANSMISSION-LINE PERMITTIVITY SENSOR AND CALIBRATION METHOD FOR THE CHARACTERIZATION OF LIQUIDS, POWDERS AND SEMISOLID MATERIALS

 

A planar transmission line sensor apparatus and calibration method for measuring the complex permittivity of liquids, powders, and semisolid materials over a wide band of radio and microwave-frequency. The sensor is also used for measuring the anisotropic dielectric properties of materials. 

Potential Commercial Applications
- Measuring attributes of products such as moisture content, fat content in agricultural products and food, lumber, chemical, pharmaceutical, concrete, and construction industries
- Poultry and meat processing plants

Competitive Advantages
-Rapid, nondestructive, wideband permittivity measurements of materials, especially those without uniform edges and without the need to have the material perpendicular to the planar line by using a planar transmission-line sensor
- Simple calibration procedure
- Low cost planar transmission-line sensor apparatus

thomas.valco@ars.usda.gov

joseph.lipovsky@ars.usda.gov

 

154.13

 

VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS FROM SMALL GRAINS, METHOD OF MAKING AND USES THEREOF

 

Methods for processing starch containing grains into nutrient enriched fractions.

Potential Commercial Applications
-Production of, e.g., beta-glucan, protein and starch, from starch containing grains for food, industrial ingredients, or feed, e.g. aquacultural feed
                  
Competitive Advantages
-Simultaneously fractionate and recover grain fractions such as e.g., protein, beta-glucan and starch, from starch containing grains
-Separate protein before ethanol production

david.nicholson@ars.usda.gov

42.13

 

NOVEL METHODS OF COMPOSITIONS TO EVALUATE AND DETERMINE INACTIVATION OF HAZARDOUS BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS

 

Assays to determine that foodborne bacterial pathogens and other hazardous biological materials are adequately inactivated in food products. These assays/kits are time-temperature integrator assays that determine the inactivation of microbial food safety hazards in samples by quantifying the degradation of mitochondrial DNA using qPCR.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Safety monitoring of thermally or microwaved processed fruits and vegetables
- Assay kits to evaluate and/or determine the amount of inactivation of biological material in food products and objects (e.g. reusable medical and dental devices)
- Evaluate inactivation protocols and deviations in processing to reduce the amount of viable biological material in or on items
 
Competitive Advantages
- Continuous and rapid monitoring
- Assay food products directly

jim.poulos@ars.usda.gov

191.09 +  14.15

 

HIGH-AFFINITY MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES FOR BOTULINUM TOXIN    TYPE B

 

Patent no. 8,900,824, High affinity antibodies for binding epitopes of Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotype B and hybridomas that produce such antibodies.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Used to develop a sandwich ELISA-based test for detecting BoNT/B

Competitive Advantages
- Can detect picogram quantities of toxin
- Used to develop very sensitive, rapid and highly specific immunoassays

david.nicholson@ars.usda.gov

204.13

 

 

ELECTROSPUN CASEIN FIBERS AND FIBEROUS MEMBRANES

 

Methods of forming a fiber mat, involving forming an aqueous solution of at least one protein, at least one polysaccharide, and optionally a plasticizer, and electrospinning the aqueous solution onto a collector to form a mat.  Creates electrospun fibers from food proteins by using a food-grade polysaccharide to facilitate molecular entanglement in solution and which required no treatments prior to electrospinning.

Potential Commercial Applications
- Possibly to produce energy dense foods; foods to create satiety to fight obesity through loading of sensitive compounds known to curb hunger; creation of foods for enhanced delivery or time-released of nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, lipids and bioactive peptides; deliver enhanced flavors or textures; tailoring of the bioavailability of foods; foods for medical use; the development of edible sensors; and casein-based non-food materials, such as new fabrics.

Competitive Advantages
- New types of foods based on dairy and other food proteins over existing food formulations
- Allows inclusion of micronutrients, heat sensitive bioactives, probiotic/prebiotic blends into functional beverage and food formulations
- The texture and nutritious compositions can be tailored by the inclusion of nutrients during electrospinning or by altering operating conditions

jim.poulos@ars.usda.gov

136.13        

METHODS OF PRODUCING FOOD CONTAINERS WITH AN ANTIMICROBIAL COATING

Containers for fruits and vegetables with an antimicrobial coating containing TiO2 that kills microbes upon contact. Contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables often occurs when they are harvested, stored and distributed in containers that are repeatedly used. Microbes from decayed or damaged fruits and vegetables can be transferred to healthy fruits and vegetables via the containers. The bacterial-free containers are designed to address this issue.


Potential Commercial Applications
- Containers for food storage
- Containers for food transportation
- Prevent cross contamination of pathogens from containers
- Reduce risk of illness from foodborne pathogens


Competitive Advantages
- Provides a bacteria-free surface
- Reduced biofilm formed on the surface
- Lasts a long time
- Washable
- Minimum light source required to active the film

jim.poulos@ars.usda.gov

 


Last Modified: 5/25/2016
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